Thursday, September 23, 2010

Animal Conflict Resolution Styles - Which One Are You?

I have been attending a conflict transformation workshop for the past few days and one of the interesting stuff I came across was the use of animal characteristics to illustrate our conflict styles (adapted from Hope and Timmel II, 1995). As I mulled over these I discovered that I am probably a cross breed of lion and turtle. Although at times (like a lion) I tend to dig in and fight whenever others disagree with my opinions (though I must add I am also ready to concede defeat when clearly defeated), at times I do behave like a tortoise and withdraw from a group or refuse to participate in efforts aimed at discussions. This is especially if I feel the other parties are unreasonable or strongly opinionated as not to have an open mind.

Anyway, here are the different conflict styles I learned, where do you fall?

Donkey: Very stubborn, and refuses to change his or her point of view. I have a few friends (and a relative or two here) but I generally avoid such people

Elephant: Blocks the way, and stubbornly prevents the group from continuing along the road they desire to go

Lion: Gets in and fights whenever others disagree with his or her plans, or interferes with his or her desires. I am thinking about Imani, my second 2 year old daughter and especially how she deals with Tamia, her 6 year older sister

Rabbit: Runs away as soon as he or she senses tension, conflict, or any unpleasant job. This may mean switching quickly to another topic

Ostrich: Buries his or her head in the the sand and refuses to face reality or admit there is any problem at all. For some reasons this reminds me of our president

Turtle: Withdraws from the group,refusing to give ideas or opinions. I find this very useful when dealing with a group of donkeys or elephants!

Chameleon: Changes colour according to the people he or she is with. Will say one thing to this group and something else to another. Very common with Kenyan politicians!

Owl: Looks very solemn and pretends to be very wise, always talking in long words and complicated sentences

Mouse: Too timid to speak up on any subject

Monkey: Fools around, chatters, and prevents the group from concentrating on serious business

PS: Pictures are sourced from Google images


  1. O great! Again, another way I'm tending towards Imani! That girl and I, it would appear, seem to have a lot in common. But make no mistake, I have been known to tend towards the mouse, believe it or not! Brilliant analogy.

  2. Carolkmail, towards the mouse, really? Maybe on some issues? As to why you are trying to ape Imani...

  3. Ha, ha, this is funny. I am not sure I fit into any of these characters as they all seem rather extreme in behaviors. But I will think about it some more.

  4. I've done a similar exercise with different animals..After that I'd go around identifying people (and referring to them by their animal names to me friends!!)

  5. Corrinne, that's so funny. Will try and do something similar with my friends!